Facebook Advertising – A useful Tool for book promotion or utterly useless?

Something a bit different for this week’s blog post. This time I am going to tell you about my experiences with Facebook advertising and why I will not give Facebook another penny.

I’m sure we’ve all heard the stories online that self-published authors have seen huge success promoting their books via Facebook advertising but from my own personal experiences with it, I have to call ‘BS’.

Sure you could spend thousands of pounds (seems that’s the only way to even reach a large enough audience to make it worthwhile these days) promoting your books, blogs etc but are they worth it?

Let’s go back a few years before Facebook introduced its ads. It was a great time for advertisers and marketers as your posts were pretty much guaranteed to be seen by a large amount of organic traffic and all for absolutely nothing.

Then Facebook decided to take advantage of its huge user base and smartly decided to charge companies and the like to promote their content and ads. All well and good you might think, they’re making cash that’s the whole point of business but then they changed things up.

At the start you could pay a tenner and your ad would have been seen by thousands of relevant people from the audience you chose in the options.  Today this is not the case. Even after you painstakingly tailor your target audience for your ad, you’re lucky if more than a 1,000 people see it at all let alone your target audience.

I recently ran an ad campaign targeting people in the USA and UK in the age group of 18- 50 and tailored their interests to relevant book genres and famous books. I thought that it was a solid audience to aim at. I submitted the ad and left it to run its course (this was with a £30 budget).

Sure enough, over the following days, the ad seemed to be getting some interest. A dozen or so people had liked the ad and the stats even said that it had generated a few clicks. Great, I thought, this should convert into book sales or Kindle Unlimited reads. No. No, it did not. Comparing the Amazon stats with the amount of clicks and likes the Facebook ad generated there was a huge discrepancy.

Ads Don’t Even Reach Your Intended Target!

I took a closer look at the Facebook ad stats and what I found both surprised and angered me. Of all the likes on the ad only one was by someone actually from the UK and USA. I clicked on each of the names that had clicked the ad and discovered that 99% of them were from countries like Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria and judging by their profiles they were either fake accounts or people with no connection to the US or UK at all!

More than a little peeved I did some research online and found numerous articles on the subject written by people who have all experienced similar discrepancies.

Here’s just a few –

http://radar.techcabal.com/t/is-facebook-advertising-the-biggest-scam-ever/4328

http://www.businessinsider.com/mans-600000-facebook-ad-disaster-2014-2?IR=T

http://digitalsynopsis.com/buzz/facebook-fake-likes-fraud/

With such hit and miss (mostly miss) results, it makes it extra annoying that Facebook now demands more money to reach such a small number of people. If you want to reach many thousands then you have to be willing pay out a LOT of money. With the ads not even being shown to your target audience, the whole thing just feels like a right scam.

I for one will not be wasting my cash on Facebook ads again.

What’s been your experience of using Facebook Advertising? Let me know in the comments or on social media.

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4 thoughts on “Facebook Advertising – A useful Tool for book promotion or utterly useless?

  1. I’ve tried using Facebook adds a few times, a few hundred euros each time, and when I compared the clicks to sales, it didn’t appear that I was getting any sales from it. So that was hundreds of euros down the drain.

  2. Thanks. Very interesting view of FB ads. Most of what I read sings their praise claiming thousands of dollars earned from them. I’ve yet to pay for my first FB ad, but I do plan to try . . . on a very limited budget. What i find interesting is that many of these authors write in my genre yet I NEVER see their ads even tho’ I suspect I’m in their targeted audience.

  3. I’ve got a Facebook page for my books. But I would not pay them any money to advertise it. Even less now I have read these articles.

  4. Pingback: The Importance of social media to Indy Authors : Facebook | M.S Olney Author

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